The Case For Allowing Whole Foods To Buy Wild Oats

Includes: AMZN, OATS
by: The Stalwart

The Stalwart submits: I gotta say that I'm pretty perplexed by the FTC's decision to oppose Whole Foods' (WFMI) purchase of Wild Oats (OATS). My Techdirt colleague, Carlo, has got a pretty spot-on analysis of the absurdity of it, and he points out that the markets don't seem to buy that the FTC will ultimately succeed.

The market, of course, remembers DOJ vs. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) (as it pertained to Oracle's purchase of PeopleSoft), which is pretty much the go-to case these days on questions of defining market scope.

The whole thing is silly on a number of levels. For one thing, it's downright absurd to think of organic foods as being a separate market from conventionally grown products. As Jim Mahar (via) points out:

First of all it is saying that Natural and Organic grocers are a different market than other grocers. Which is clearly not the case (don't believe me? Price an organic item too high and see everyone go to the non organic variety!).

Let me add also, that I have plenty of personal experience in this industry, as I've visited Whole Foods headquarters on several occasions, and for a while I even worked for one of its competitors (in the deli).